The Daily Mail online body shames female celebrities on a daily basis – it’s their bread and butter. Yesterday, their target for one such article was pretty surprising: Michael Flatley.
The Lord of the Dance, 58, retired earlier this year after 25 years as a professional Irish dancer. The Chicago-born Flatley forever changed the world of Irish dance, helping to make it cool, contemporary and flashy with pioneering shows such as "Riverdance," "Lord of the Dance" and "Feet of Flames." In 1989, at age 31, he set a Guinness World Record for foot-tapping at a mind-boggling 28 taps per second, and went on to break his own record nine years later in 1998 with 35 taps per second.
But for the Daily Mail, he’s now just another piece of meat gone past its prime.
“Lord of the sweatpants: Retired Michael Flatley looks unrecognizable as he struggles up off a step... after revealing dancing 'wrecked his body” the headline reads.
The article consists mainly of paparazzi photos of a tracksuit-clad Flatley chatting on the phone while he sits on a stoop in London.
“It is mere months since he took to the stage for the last time to wow his avid fans with his dance skills. And Michael Flatley seems to have fully settled into his retirement,” it begins, later adding that “his years of pounding the stage appeared to have caught up with him.”
The writer then goes into ludicrous detail, accompanied by photos, about how the Irish American dancer seemed to struggle to stand up, shockingly resting one of his hands on the steps behind him as a support.
Adding insult to injury, the article then proceeds to quote a previous Daily Mail interview with Flatley in which he opened up about the toll a quarter-century of professional dancing took on his body.
“I am always in pain. Agony. Every morning my poor wife [Niamh O'Brien] has to witness me spending the first few minutes of the day trying to straighten my back and push my legs to start working.
“I’ve wrecked my body with dance. I can’t say I wasn’t warned and I can’t say I haven’t loved every single minute of putting myself into this state.
“But physically I’m a mess. I have a recurring broken bone in my right foot which just spontaneously breaks itself. My hamstrings are ruined, my groin is gone and I’ve done irreparable damage to two points of my spine.”
You look great, Michael, don’t listen to them.